Friday, June 19, 2009

Making the Kessel Run

I'm afraid that this week's Nerd News in Brief has been unavoidably delayed. I do, however, have a fairly legitimate excuse. You see, today I am doing the unthinkable; actively promoting a project.

I have, on numerous occasions, characterized myself as being "allergic to hype." I started Hipster, please! to spread the nerdy gospel, but I did so with the caveat that I refused to beat people about the head with my message. I am of the opinion that if you simply leverage your energy to do what you love good things will come. And while this has certainly proven to be true, that doesn't necessarily mean that said good things will come immediately. This is how I have maintained what I sometimes jokingly refer to as "the world's oldest and least successful nerd music and culture Web log."

Yesterday I was informed, however, that Radio Free Hipster's nomination for Speculative Fiction Podcast of the Year has been accepted for this year's Parsec Awards.

First, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who helped get my name in the hat. When Church first suggested that I was somehow eligible for such an award, I was skeptical. But, as fantastical worlds are very much a part of geeky music, I couldn't exactly argue. Moreover, I was even more skeptical that anyone would take the time to go through the nomination process - not to mention the fact that I felt like a tool for bringing it up - but many of you did, and that really means a lot.

In order for the trick to work, however, I now find myself attempting to distill a year's worth of podcasts into a 10 minute "highlight reel." It ain't easy, but if you took this seriously enough to put my name out there, I damn sure better take it seriously enough to give it a proper go.

Even with my characteristic self-deprecation aside, I don't see myself as having any real chance of winning this thing. But as the old adage goes, it is an honor just to be nominated.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hark! A Press Release!

As if you hadn't noticed my incessant yammering regarding the event, it is once again Nerdapalooza season.

I'm going; are you?


Thefuckyousay! Take a gander at this here press release, and perhaps you'll be motivated to reconsider.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Best in Town

It is no secret that, due to my rural isolation, I rarely get the chance to catch my favorite acts without a significant road trip involved. Thus, when int eighty emailed me to say he would be in nearby Clemson, SC for SoutheEast|LinuxFest, I was ecstatic. I have literally been a fan of Dual Core since the opening strains of their debut album Zero One, and after Josh (my best friend and regular travelling companion) and I hung out with him at Nerdapalooza '08, a similarly instantaneous bond was formed.

Last Saturday, Josh drove down from Charlotte, picking me up on the way, and we headed to my state's premiere town-built-around-a-college. Once there, we were reunited with eighty and introduced to the one and only Remington Forbes (fellow Cincinnati native and eighty's longtime friend/collaborator) at local restaurant, watering hole and stuffed penguin sanctuary Rock Hoppers. As the sun went down and the DJ's set came to a close, it was show time.

The set itself was phenomenal! Short but undeniably sweet. Eighty brought it every bit as hard for a room full of a few dozen Linux faithful – a group to which I will henceforth refer as to "Free as in Beards" crowd – as he did for a whole bar full of nerdcore fans at 'Palooza. And Remy, who I'd never had the pleasure of hearing live before, came correct despite the fact that he spent his entire time at the venue leading up to the show tossing back beers with me. Suffice it to say that it was well worth the drive just to catch them performing "Cipher Punks," one of my favorite tracks from the Zero One.

Stuff started off with an impromptu run-in, a crazy idea from eighty that Josh and I fully endorsed. After that, Remy and eighty favored us with some of their unique on-stage chemistry and literate, technological rhymes.

The order of the day (night?) was freestyling, which both rappers performed expertly. And between the well-rehearsed verses and the improvised lyricism, the guys managed to keep their intended audience – which included the young attendee who served as the band's own S1 – enthralled while even eliciting interest from the venue's other patrons.

After the show, eighty, Remy, Josh and I claimed a booth and shot the proverbial shit. It was here that I received my fair share of that free beer that Linux lovers are always talking about, as the drink tickets were plentiful. We talked Nerdapalooza line-up, operating systems, building climbing vs. dumpster diving, the evils of purple drank and, of course, hip-hop.

Due to South Carolina blue laws, our guests got to experience what we sometimes refer to in the local parlance as being "closed out" – the bar stopped serving shortly before midnight and then turned the house lights up to persuade those of us who had settled into drunken stupors to vacate the premises – but that just gave us a chance to step outside and get a quick album preview.

A small crowd gathered around Josh's truck as eighty played a trio of early mixes from Dual Core's forthcoming release Next Level. Both to maintain whatever meager "journalistic integrity" I may possess and because eighty is a friend, I won't elaborate too much as to what we heard, but I can tell you that the tracks further expanded upon the Dual Core sound we've come to love. Lyrically, eighty was as on point as ever, and, musically-speaking, c64 seemed to be working with instrumental beds that were a bit denser and noticeably sharper. This, in turn, gave the selections an almost darkly futuristic feel. Of particular note was the final cut, which used an urgent vocal hook that sampled, among other things, an easily recognizable line from a Dual Core guest rapper from a previous release.

Throughout the night it was revealed that Remington Forbes was on track to be featured on a cut or two, and eighty revealed that a new song I had previously heard would also be tapped for Next Level. From all I heard, I have to admit that this has easily jumped to the top of my most anticipated albums list, and, knowing eighty, I'm sure he'll be more than willing to keep me in the loop as it comes together. (And I'll also let slip that there was an insinuation that some of this new material could conceivably be performed live at this summer's Nerdapalooza. /fingers crossed)

So, in summation: Josh and I had a great time hanging out with int eighty again, Remington Forbes is a gentleman and a scholar (and a die-hard KRS fan), the set was short but amazing and the new Dual Core album is shaping up to be a worthy successor to their previous exemplary work. Oh, and also, eighty will totally get you drunk if you're not careful. Consider yourselves warned.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 68: Country Mouse, City Mouse

I've been making a lot of theme-less episodes of the podcast lately. This is another one.

I sometimes wonder which people like more: heavily conceptual shows with specific subject matter or these less structured editions. I reckon the harsh truth is I'm the only one who puts that much thought in to it. Most of you just come here for the music, which is really the whole point.

This ep. in particular works in some fairly disparate elements. It's got a nice heavy movement in the middle of the first set, and winds down the second with significantly more pop sensibility. It was also a good opportunity to spotlight a number of new releases. Most of which are free, so be sure to follow up.

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 68: Country Mouse, City Mouse [hosting provided by Antisoc] Size: 45 MB Running Time: 49:12

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – "Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy) "
Because there truly is no better way to start the day.

Track 1: Reaper dialog / mc chris "mc chris ownz Paper Planes (M.I.A. Remix)"
No offense to my brother Marty, but I am livid that Doll House gets another season while Reaper gets shitcanned. Well, I suppose there's always syndication.

Z's 1st interlude: "Hello, friends and neighbors."
In real life my neighbors are seldom my friends.

Track 2: Jay Tholen vs Shael Riley – "Dial-Up Town"
Shael Riley is my favorite thing to happen to digital pitch correction since Auto-Tune the News.

Track 3: Southside – "Downtown"
Word on the Twitter is that Southside has a new albums in the works. I am greatly pleased by this.

Track 4: Marc with a C – "This Stuff Is Gonna Kill Me"
Marc has a ton of free stuff at his site. I suggest you head over there and snag some of it. It's perfect for summer listening.

Track 5: The Ranger – "Gonna Be (Digital Nasty Remix)"
Is it wrong that I find Ranger's admission that he's training his young daughters to be revolutionaries nothing short of heartwarming?

Track 6: Bloodhag – "Douglas Adams"
Go buy Hellbent for Letters. It will change your life for the better.

Track 7: Year 200X – "Metal Gear"
I'm gonna go ahead and say that Year 200X is my favorite game covers band. It's the truth!

Track 8: Dr. Awkward – "Next Gen (ft. KABUTO THE PYTHON)"
KABUTO does a lot of collabs, but I think he and Awkward gel completely. Both are talented, intelligent, occasionally offensive and always entertaining.

Track 9: Optimus Rhyme – "Anxiety (live)"
"Bring the Jackson 5 back."

Z's 2nd interlude: "The electronic alter-ego of nerdcore hip-hopper signed long int."
Big up to SLI/Dmitri!

Track 10: Magitek – "Weapon Select Thugmasta J" / Doctor Horrible laugh
MisterB would like to remind you to download Odd Entities. I second that emotion.

Track 11: Wordburlgar – "The Route"
Burg's live version of this at Nerdaaplooza SE '08 was unbelievable.

Track 12: Coldplay – "Clocks (killsaly's breakbeat mash)"
killsaly does some of my favorite remixes. I can't figure out why more artists don't hit him up for collabs!

Track 13: Uncle Monsterface – "Heart"
I am still holding out hope for an Animal Crossing remix of this track.

Track 14: Jonathan Coulton – "Take Care of Me"
Accordion solo. Need I say more?

Z's final interlude: "While I sort of missed the boat on the whole Coldplay thing."
Because of my life-threatening allergy to drive-time DJs, I don't listen to the radio. As a result, I tend to miss out on a lot of artists until they are wholly insulated by hype. Maybe that explains it.

Track 15: Snake Eyes – "Chocolate Treadmill"
I now have a new favorite Snake Eyes song.

With a road trip looming, I think the next episode is gonna centered on travel music. After that, it's anybody's guess.

Whether or not I'll even have time to drop yet another podcast in early July (before I leave for Orlando) is still up in the air. But, failing that, I do have another pet project I've been working on that might serve as a substitute. We'll just have to see.

Until then, comments and requests are greatly appreciated.

Further Down the Rabbit Hole

I've already mentioned the various shades of weirdness going on with My Parents' Favorite Music, right? Hacked MySpace, Japanese schoolgirl abduction, time travel and the like? Well, I am… uh… pleased(?) to announce that stuff just managed to get even more bizarre.

This morning I stepped out of the shower to find a text from Steffo. Well, at least it said it was from Steffo.

It read as follows:
Hey its Steffo. Don't worry I'm not dead. Just had to find my window to get some internet time without the ladies knowing and well I had to tell you guys something. I recieved a letter. Now I have everything I need. Come the 16th these girls wont know what hit em.
There was also an image file included, which I am sort of hoping just didn't dither properly on my little enV2.

At any rate, I'm assuming this is for public consumption, so I figured I'd toss it out there. Anybody want to venture a guess as to what the hell this thing is?

If nothing else, I assume all will be revealed tomorrow. Which is good. As right now I've got nothing but questions.